Another week like the last, alas - Gnat’s Nana is still out with the Fever > Spotted > Mountain Range > Rockies, so I have to write columns at night and bleat-blog during the day. Why, you ask, don’t I do this in true blog style, with updates every hour? Because I had an extra unexpected bandwidth overage charge last period, that’s why. No major updates to the site any time soon, I’m afraid. To all who hit the tipjar lately: many thanks. And remember, every dollar donated that exceeds the end-of-the-year cost of running this thing goes to the Heifer Project. Last year we bought a Cebu for a family in Southeast Asia, and I hope we can do it again in December. Anyway - let's get t' bloggin', Bl33t style.

9:10 AM The composer of the GIlligan’s Island theme has died at the age of 87. The bio has a quote that sums up his era quite well:

"America doesn't want great music themes," Wyle once said of the song. "Just something it can remember.”

There’s the old TV mindset in a nutshell. The idiots wouldn’t know quality if you painted it gold and served on fargin’ china. The morons. We’ll give them this witless crap set ona tropical island, and just to rub in the schtoopidity we’ll add a laugh track, as if we expect folks to believe there’s a fargin’ stupid audience sitting out in the lagoon. In bleachers. Big, waterproof bleachers. Right.

This mentality led directly to the utter suckification of television, and then the rest of the media, and then the culture at large, culminating in Gerald Ford falling down the steps of an Air Force one staircase. An entire nation got used to be talked down to, and finally decided there was no advantage in being smarter than the network execs thought they were. Why bother? If they were puttin’ in extry-smart jokes in Petticoat Junction, there might be a point to it. But they ain’t. Least as I can tell, anyways. Course, if they was puttin’ those jokes in, I wouldn’t be able to tell. But is it worth it to get your GED and go to the community college so you can get the secret jokes? Would you even have time to watch the shows, what with all the homework?

9:55 Watched “Red Dragon” this weekend. And why not? There are no bad Lecter movies. (Some people blanched at “Hannibal,” but I didn’t.) “Red Dragon” is a remake of a movie I like quite a bit - “Manhunter,” by Michael Mann. It’s better; it’s not as good. It was different enough so I stopped making comparisons. My main complaint would be Ed Norton - when I saw his name on the credits I expected to see “Ralph Cramden as Hannibal” later on. Norton has always struck me as David Spade’s confused, resentful brother. Once you’ve accepted William Pederson in the role, Norton just looks too young, too callow, too defensively smirky. But I did enjoy Philip Seymour Hoffman - he’s like Barney Rubble after Betty left him and took the kids.

One thing I learned, of many: the bad guy’s name wasn’t Dollarhyde, as I’d thought, but Dolorhyde. One less L makes a big difference. Dolor, as in dolorous. Latin root dolor, pain or grief. Hyde = hide = skin. A man whose pain and grief was literally written in his own skin.

10:24 AM Just called Ian’s show. Question: if you were stuck at the top of a mountain, could you cut your arm off to survive? The real question, it seems to me, is the advisability of mountain climbing in the first place, and whether it has an advantage over, say, playing Asteroids at the arcade. Oh dear, my pants have caught on a sharp edge of the coin return. I shall have to saw my body off below the waist.

I don’t think so.

12:24 PM Note to people who feel compelled to begin talk-radio conversations with “long-time listener, first-time caller” - no one cares. Least of all the host. Nor should you say “as I told your screener . . .” because A) it eats up time and B) reminds everyone of the process that weeds out long-winded dullards, and C) how this process has failed.

12:44 PM. Once again I heard myself tell my daughter she couldn’t have raisins until she finished her mac and cheese. No fruit for you unless you finish that processed grain-and-reconstituted-cheddar glue. It's habit - do this, then that. Finish your cookie or you won't get your vitamins.

1:12 PM Years ago someone filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple for something or other - had to do with iMovie, I think. The details, when I read them, were not impressive; in the parade of human injustice, this ranked somewhere between the cancellation of "Knight Rider" and the designation new wave being applied to the Kings' "Switchin' to Glide." The suit was settled, and people who had purchased a computer during a certain time got a certificate entitling them to X dollars off certain purchases. I found that certificate while cleaning my desk last week. The deadline for filing my claim was April 30. It was April 30. I bought a memory module. Today the FedEx man brought the memory. (Second try.)

What if he’d fallen down the stairs and broken his neck?

Who’d be the responsible party? Who set it all in motion - the people who filed the suit, Apple, or me?

Judgment Day is going to move like a DC Post Office line on Dec. 24.

1:10 PM Okay, just put her down for a nap a few minutes ago. Went back upstairs for something, doing the usual Ministry of Silly Walks routine to avoid the creakier steps, and heard her singing to herself. Just tuneless happy little-girl singing in her dark room with her stuffed animals. How I love her.

10:32 PM This is why I don’t blog. Nothing for nine hours. At first, people might say well, he’s busy. Then they’d think gosh, wonder what happened? Then they’d be angry: WHERE ARE THE UPDATES, you LAZY BASTICHE?

I’m back at the kitchen table, having spent the night writing & trashing columns for Newhouse. The first idea was irrelevant. The second idea - Joe McCarthy Roy Cohn interviewing Jayne Mansfield to uncover Red sympathies - was not fit for family newspapers. The third version is a straight opinion piece on the new McCarthy revelations - why, turns out he was a bullying fool who badgered people whose connection to the Red peril was rather slim.

This is my favorite line from the news story:

“McCarthy flourished during Cold War anxieties, with some parallels to today's fear of terrorism.”

You remember when the Soviets drove a 707 into the Empire State Building.

Back to work; more bloggy fun tomorrow.

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